Groove Note Records
Guitarist Anthony Wilson, the son of bandleader Gerald Wilson, has garnered numerous accolades for his compositions and his big-band arrangements. Not bad for a musician who is still only in his early 30s. For Our Gang he opts for the organ-trio format, with drummer Mark Ferber and organist Joe Bagg.
For an organ-trio recording, things get started on the left foot somewhat: "Our Gang" is a laid-back Latin original that enables Wilson to get in some nice melodic playing but suggests that this album isn't going to be a traditional funky workout. But the trio's cover of Kenny Burrell's "Chitlins con Carne" simmers from the get go, though Wilson smartly builds his solo slowly and turns up the heat as things progress. The remaining tunes, while not exactly fitting into the classic organ-trio mold, feature plenty of bright moments, including the brisk, long, fluid lines of "Luck Be a Lady," the backbeat-oriented "Road Trip" and a funky reading of the Beatles' "I Want You (She's So Heavy)."
There's no question that Wilson is a fine, exceptionally fluid player who knows how to build a solo (and write a nice tune), witnessed by this disc's diverse, sometimes sophisticated material.